Apparently someone wanted to create a poor man’s version of Harold and Kumar Meets Paranormal Activity and then decided to turn it into a madcap sex farce. Brad and Sergio are low-rent versions of everyone’s current favorite stoner duo, Harold and Kumar. Combine the ethos of that franchise with a horny demon and you have Ghost Team One. Taking a cue from such movies as Scary Movie, it tries to milk some laughs from spoofing various paranormal subjects and reality shows like Ghost Hunters.
The comedy is not a complete miss; there are some funny gags found in its raunchy and graphic humor. Brad (J.R. Villareal) and Sergio (Carlos Santos) are likable enough characters as college buddies more worried about getting some action than hunting ghosts. Brad is the more outgoing friend, while Sergio has had little luck with women. Fernanda Romero provides some necessary eye candy in a sexy role as the ghost-obsessed object of the duo’s desires.
The two college buddies pretend to be making a documentary and investigating spooky phenomena when Fernanda expresses a deep interest in their work with ghosts. Sergio quickly begins falling for the alluring Fernanda, a young woman who truly believes in the paranormal, which the fellas are merely pretending to care about to get close to her. A little research reveals the house they live in was the site of three murders and had the mysterious disappearance of Lady Azalea, a former madam in a brothel.
The trio form Ghost Team One, in search of uncovering the mystery about Lady Azalea and their house’s background. One of the funniest continuing bits in the movie is their roommate’s increasingly bizarre antics, Chuck (Tony Cavalero). Chuck has a drug problem and has now been clean for over 280 days, as he lets everyone know in a series of entertaining web confessionals. Trying to live clean and sober in a house of potheads puts Chuck on edge and things get even weirder when the spirit of Lady Azalea possesses him.
Ghost Team One is a spoof comedy that occasionally works in its best scenes. Unfortunately, the really funny bits are few and far between, becoming predictable in their execution. Ghost Team One likes being in the gutter and its most pivotal moment occurs when Brad ends up having sex with the ghost. The low-brow potty humor gets tiresome by the end, especially with its over-the-top finale featuring an exploding penis. This might be worth a rental if one is desperate for another horror spoof.
Ghost Team One uses almost all the bad clichés found in reality footage for its primary means of visual presentation. The entire movie is supposedly being filmed on a hand-held camera by a student filmmaker. Its first-person perspective has all the hallmarks of badly-shot and out-of-focus digital footage, especially in the opening scenes filmed by Brad. The shakiness does subside as Brad’s turn behind the camera ends, but Ghost Team One looks like an amateurish attempt at duplicating the style of Paranormal Activity’s digital cinematography. That was likely the intent by the directors, but it makes for difficult viewing at times.
Paramount has given Ghost Team One a fine showing on Blu-ray considering the movie’s visual limitations. The AVC video encode averages a very strong 35.68 Mbps for the relatively short 84-minute film. Part of the doctored reality footage includes a number of false digital artifacts that have nothing to do with its compression or the original digital-footage itself. The transfer shows no indication of being manipulated beyond a few simple color tweaks. There is some noise evident in the image at times, possibly due to the low-budget DSLR cameras used for a variety of shots.
The camera’s focus seems to improve as Fernanda becomes more prominent in the story. The shaky and unstable focus goes away, resulting in a typical low-budget sheen common to digitally-shot features. The video quality gets overly bright with slightly blown-out highlights, though the contrast becomes more even with a richer color palette. Moderate sharpness and decent clarity are Ghost Team One’s best attributes.
This is clearly not demo material and its shoddy-looking video might actually be better served on a format with lower resolution. There are ways to simulate amateur video while still maintaining enough quality to not prove distracting, but Ghost Team One goes too far in the opposite direction.
The primary audio option is an underwhelming 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack. Ghost Team One revels in its low-budget atmosphere and that extends to this lossless mix. The dialogue is easy to understand and clear. A few moments even employ some serious low-end bass. But this movie is almost entirely a dialogue-driven comedy with limited chances to really impress on a sonic level. Rarely does it stray from a fairly narrow presentation. The soundtrack does use the few paranormal encounters to add a little spice to the affair.
Three dubs in 5.1 Dolby Digital at 640 kbps are included by Paramount: French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Five optional subtitles in a white font are provided: English, English SDH, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
Paramount has included several decent special features, all presented in polished HD. The deleted scenes do not amount to much but Chuck’s video diary is funny enough to be enjoyed on its own. Ghost Team One also includes a code good for both an UltraViolet digital copy and an iTunes digital copy.
Deleted / Extended Scenes (13:35 in HD) – Ghost Team One only ran 84 minutes and felt padded out at that relatively short length. This deleted material and a few extended takes don’t add much in terms of actual humor. There was a good reason why these scenes ended up on the cutting-room floor.
Chuck’s Video Diary (07:09 in HD) – Tony Cavalero’s character was one of the few bright spots in the movie and these in-character confessionals are pretty funny for outtakes.
Bloopers (03:03 in HD) – Typical blooper reel highlights, as a number of actors are caught flubbing their lines or going off script.
Behind The Scenes (06:23 in HD) – A featurette constructed from footage taken by Chanel the dog’s camera, riffing on a scene from the movie itself. It definitely provides a different perspective on a few pivotal moments from the set.
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